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Blogging about gardening in zone 4, marriage, our golden retriever and life in general.

Friday, August 27, 2010


I avoid writing about my job on here because, well, the internet is rife with people whose blog posts ended up being career limiting.

But here it is 1:06 am and I can't sleep for the turmoil in my head, my heart and my stomach.

I've been fighting a case of workplace discontent all summer. I chalked it up to stress over wedding planning, boring projects and  the uncertainty of my employer's budget. My antsy-ness had to do with not moving for the first time in 10 years, surely. The wondering of my mind to the "should I pursue a PhD in History" question was due to some kind of boredom, right? My dismay at some workplace shenannigans always ebbed and flowed, and this was an ebb.

Well, fuck, I'm sure I'm mixing my metaphors here, but the tide went out today and I don't see it flowing back in for a while.

Due to budget constraints, a coworker of mine is taking on additonal responsibilities (and the corresponding budget allocation) while another is reducing hours to three-quarter-time. And while I know everyone on my team will pitch in, I can't help but feel many of their current applications/ projects will fall to me.

Some of the current projects walking in the door are retreads of projects other planners handled in 2007 or 2008. Others are the new big uglies that deal with tearing great old buildings down.

I'm savvy enough to know already which are loosing causes. Yet I can't ignore my moral concience, my professional ethics, to support a project that destroys what I believe in. In adhereing to my principles I'm setting myself up for a massive whalloping in a televised public forum. Big public black eyes, potentially delivered from the people I work for.

So yeah, I've got that going for me.

I know it's not kosher to complain about a job right now. And I'm grateful, truely I am, that my coworkers are taking on new roles and accepting reduced hours in an effort to keep our department staffed at the bare bones level it is now. I work with a great team of people, and we can't afford to lose anyone.

But. But... the reorganization of responsibilities seems to rob me of the history and preservation projects that feed my soul and keep me coming back. I'm afraid all of my time will now be spent in project review; a segment of my job I've always tolerated because the same job let me do fun stuff like write walking tours of historic districts.

And this makes my stomach hurt. This isn't the job I want. I find no joy in dickering over vinyl vs. wood interior/ metal clad exterior windows. I don't like being stuck between my duty to execute the community's goals and vision in terms of keeping great old buildings and the community's need for the economic stimulous that comes with any project right now. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

I just don't know... exactly what price did the devil name for my soul here?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Wonderful Weekend

One of the unexpected things to happen this summer was the remarkable absence of events to attend. Last summer, if you recall, was a weekday sprint between events, and left us little time to explore this amazingly scenic state we inhabit.

On Friday afternoon we were able to sneak out of work early (boss approved) and head over to the Beartooth Mountains for some hiking. The plan was to drive to a campground outside of Red Lodge on Friday, camp, explore Red Lodge a bit on Saturday morning, hike, drive back over the Beartooth Highway through Yellowstone, and have dinner at the Rib and Chop House in Livingston before returning home on Saturday night. Which would leave us Sunday to get all the random stuff done around the house and me be at an AOII meeting.

The result? Perhaps the best weekend of the summer (wedding included). It was relaxing, outdoorsy, we spent some great one on one time by a fire in a deserted campground (save for the MOOSE that charged DJ into a bathroom!), see a small town, do an awesome hike that totally wore the dog out, and enjoy the awesome beauty of Montana before chowing down in a great restaurant. Sunday was devoted to AOII meetings, working out, cleaning the house and putting away gear and going to a movie. Best weekend of the summer.

Don't believe me? Here's the evidence:

Friday, August 20, 2010


I love to read in bed, sometimes late into the night. When I was a kid I'd stay at my grandmother's for a week or two every summer, and would spend my time reading through her stash of paperback romance novels, eating Dole popsicles and reading until midnight in my room or the living room. It was awesome.

Of course, once you're married reading in bed before falling asleep requires a compromise occassionally. Sometimes I turn off the light when I could read longer because DJ can't sleep with the light on. Last night, after a day at work that left my mind rolling around a million other issues, I knew I needed to read late in order to fall asleep quickly.

DJ, being the 7 year old boy man he is, would jolt awake every time I rolled over, moved the covers, or adjusted my pillow in search of a more comfortable reading position. He had a t-shirt over his eyes, to further dampen the reading light, but with my momvement he'd raise halfway up and mumble incoherently "jaber jaber jaber". This happened four or five times.

Finally with the last one, I decided I'd subjected him to enough. I put down my book and snapped off the light. I lay there with my mind racing about work stuff, when the following occoured:

DJ (sits straight up, rips the shirt off of his eyes and uses it to mop up something on the top of the duvet): "mumble mumble mumbe (in an excited tone)"

CK: "DJ it's okay. It's fine. Go back to sleep."

DJ: "But there's cranberry juice EVERYWHERE!"

CK (giggling): "It's okay babe, we'll clean it up in the morning..."

DJ (sighs in a resigned fashion): "No no, I got it all." (gets up and walks into the bathroom)

(DJ gets back into bed)

CK: "What was that about?"
DJ (awake now, and not amused that I'm about to make fun of him): "There was juice everywhere and you wouldn't let me clean it up!"
... fast forward to this morning at 11 am when DJ comes into my office and reminds me of the weird shit he did last night. Apparently he thought there was crabjuice everywhere, and it was going to be stinky. So he took his t-shirt into the bathroom to rinse it out, where he woke up.

That DJ, he keeps me awake at nights.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

One Year

DJ emailed me this morning a little reminder:

One year ago today we signed the offer to bulid our house.

One year from Saturday we got engaged.

Man, it's been a hell of a ride. And this fall, for the first time in 10 years, I'm not moving. No wonder I'm vaguely restless!

Still a Sourpuss

I'm unsure if I made it clear in this blog that I didn't really care for wedding planning. I was good at it, I think, because I'm a control freak. I had things planned out, spreadsheeted, photo-prepared, and ready to go. But I didn't enjoy it. Really, really, really didn't enjoy it. Really, really, really glad that's over.

I'd rank myself in the middle of the girlie-to-tomboy spectrum. I wear dresses, a lot (it's cooler in the summer and they look better on my body), but also like football. I'm not afraid to tackle big projects that require power tools, but still like high thread count sheets and having fresh flowers inside.

Yet when it comes to things wedding-related, my give a shit usually ends at locating the bar. I disliked being responsible for an event that so many people put so much pressure on. Irritation set in whenever someone asked me, again, about the details for something that DJ had taken responsiblity for. As I told my friend Alli a few weeks ago, no matter who you delegate to, give orders to, etc., they still come to the girl in the white dress with the questions.

So over a month later, I still get irritated when people ask me (in that singsongy, obnoxious tone of voice) "Heeeeyyyy there Mrs.--------", or "Hey married lady!" or "Isn't life WONDERFUL now that you're MARRIED?!" or "Tell me ALL ABOUT IT!"

Question: when someone asks to hear all about your wedding, are they really interested, or just trying to start conversation?

I dunno. I guess after nearly a year of changes I'm just glad it's done. Thankful that it's over, want to see the pictures, and then don't want to deal with it anymore. Ever. And dread the next one I have to attend.

I'll be the sourpuss in the back making snarky comments.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Explaining the Absence

Hiya. Yeah, it's been pretty bare around here this summer. I got busy with wedding stuff, then just fell out of habit with writing. I need to dip the toe back in though.

I have a lot rolling around in my head lately. Uncertainty about work; both with budget cuts looming and a gnawing sense of dissatisfaction. I find that the more effort I put into my work, the more I get out of it. But lately, it's been like blogging... I'm just not that into it. I keep kicking around potential career paths, and coming back to a idontknow point.

It's been wonderful to be home this summer. Other than the wedding, and a second quick trip to the lake, we've been mostly in and around Bozeman. There was a great camping trip up into the Pioneer Mountains, some flyfishing attempts, and some dog-swimming, but nothing spectacular. It's been great to enjoy Bozeangeles this summer.

Around the house, man, I wish we had five grand to blow. New bedroom furniture, bed, curtains, curtains for the guest room and office, etc. Getting the garage set up, getting a second fridge/ freezer for the beer/ beef in the garage. We keep mentioning all these things we'd like to do, but then come back to the part where we try to be grown ups and pay cash for consumer goods. Hell. Being an adult has it's drawbacks.

Also looking like hell is the vegetable garden. Folks, I can't grow zucchini. What. The. Hell. We're already brainstorming for next summer. Getting a compost bin. Tilling in rotted manure this fall. Raised Beds. Greenhouse? Suffice to say, we've thus far had two tablespoons of chives and a few small onions from the garden. Nuts. The tomatoes in the front of the house are being rock stars though!

It's been fun to play with the new household gifts from our registry. I'm in LOVE with our vacuum. And the mixer. We bake cookies, scones, waffles; basically anything that justifies a mixer use. I also just used gift cards to order a new set of pots and pans. Cuisinart 17 piece set, normally $600 at Macys, and I just bought it for $212 plus free shipping. Hell yes!

We recieved so many lovely gifts. While the veggie garden is kind of a giant FAIL, the flower garden along the sidewalk seems to be doing okay. I love cutting fresh flowers from outside and bringing them into the house to pop them into one of the great vases we recieved as a present. I love having fresh flowers inside, especially sweet peas.

What else? Harlow is doing well. Still packing peanuts between her ears. Getting lankier by the day, and is starting to learn the names of some of her toys. We need to enroll her in puppy class this fall. I have a list a mile long of things to do this fall...

Well, I'll sign off with that. More later this week, with photos too!

Sunday, August 15, 2010


We've been married  over a month now. Guess what? Not much is different. Come home, get the dog spayed, and face the mountains of paperwork, email, phone messages, and oh yeah, wedding crap in piles in the office. The piles o'wedding crap bug me, but I'm not quite motivated enough yet to deal with them.

In the month we've been married, I've been questioned at least 10 times with "so when are you going to have kids". To the point where my sister is telling me that I'll have a baby or be pregnant in the next year.

Gretch: seriously, I love you, but stop telling me when I will or will not push a damn cantaloupe out of my who-haa!!! It's my vagina and we'll use a goalie when I want to!

Ahem. People. Let's think about this here. We've been married a month. As in, I still haven't even designed, ordered, written, addressed or sent a damn thank you yet. I don't need to get knocked up and start another registry.

And the older I get, the more I realize what a big fucking deal having a kid is. Like, we barely have disposable income anyway... I'm not ready to add $700 a month in daycare alone. Let's face it, I'm still to selfish; with my time, with my money, and with my sleep (DJ's beer brewing dreams notwithstanding).

That said, there is an AOII baby boom happening around me this fall. It's the first wave of mass baby-makin', uterus-stretching, can't-drink-for-like-a-year, a shit ton of people are having kids. I've got friends having babies in September, November, December, January, February and March. And shit, someone else I lived in the Pizzle house with is probaby getting knocked up as I type this. BOOM! And no, I won't be drinking the Kool-Aid at the Homecoming Brunch. That shit is contaminated.

I, on the other hand, will continue to drink my way through the remainder of the wine we bought for our wedding, contemplate the wedding shit in our office, and figure out how to afford grown up bedroom furniture.

I should add here that I'm not trying to be judgemental. My reluctance to have a kid, and my personal uncomfortableness with my friends having kids is only that, well, aren't we still young ourselves? Aren't we still trying to figure out who and what we want to be when we grow up? Isn't the signifier of grown-up-ness having more than $16.94 in our checking accounts at the end of the month, because I'm still never above $50 by the 25th of the month.

That's just me? So you're saying that I'm no longer 19 and we're not going to the Lambda Chi graffiti party next month?

Shit. Pour me another glass of wine.

Edited to add, apparently Beyonce agrees with me.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Bathtub Brewer

DJ has a friend from high school that we spent about five hours with last summer in Seattle. He's that dude we all know, who graduated from college, has great social skills, and still lives like he's 21. And still chases girls that are 19, even though he's 32. We all know some version of this guy.

And you know what? I love this guy. We immediately clicked. He's a good guy at heart, and is just still stuck in an extended version of the mid-20's guy funk. And when he figured out that he really couldn't make it to our wedding, I was genuinely bummed.

As a wedding gift, he sent DJ a new favorite toy. A beer brewing kit. DJ has mentioned for about a year that he'd like to give it a whirl, and if there was ever a home project meant for an engineer, it's beer brewing. Oh the spreadsheets!

So last weekend, DJ spent Saturday brewing the first batch. We now have a plastic tub in our guest bathroom that slowly is emitting the smell of a stale burp. The kind you let go of at noon on a Sunday while hanging out on the Multi sofa after the last AGR party and watching everyone trickle in from shacking up. It's vaguely beery, but mostly very, very rich... like the burger you had for dinner last night.

Sorry, that was overly descriptive.

DJ's enthusiasm for home brewing has the makings of an obsession excellent hobby. On Tuesday night, I walked upstairs to find him in the guest bathroom with his tub of beer, counting the bubbles that come up into the percalator thingy. I asked him if he'd like a stopwatch to time the contractions; he raised his phone and told me he was all set. Excellent. My husband is counting the digestion of a giant tub of hops, barley, malt, I think there is some vodka in there, and yeast.

Which leads me to the sleepwalking part. Last night, DJ rolled over, patted me on the bum and did as follows:

DJ (patting the bum): "mumble mumble mumble".

CK (still not totally asleep, stirs, realizes that he's sleep walking. Remembers that he gets mad if she wakes him up while sleepwalking. Decides to let this one roll and see where it goes).

DJ (rolls back over): "mumble mumble, second tub, mumble mumble yeast."

Silence and quiet for a moment.

DJ (sits up, like a prarie dog popping out of it's hole): "mumble  MUMBLE!"

(reaches out and turns on the light, jumps out of bed and faces it, and then proceeds to move arms wildly at about waist level, as if stirring something. Or transferring it to another container).

(finally comes to, realizes what he's doing, and snaps off the light. Then proceeds to walk around the bed to the bathroom, his usual "I wasn't sleepwalking, I had to pee" cover.)

(gets back into bed)

CK: "Busted, beer man."